8:02 PM: Just turned on the TV, only to go immediately to commercial break. Luckily, I’m not missing the sideline reports. They should be asinine, at best.
8:05 PM: Eagles kicking off, and I’m pumped. I missed the Steelers contest, so this is my first taste of the year (Editor’s note: He hasn’t had a taste in 7 months. We’re all so proud).
8:07 PM: Asante Samuel breaks up a pass. Good to have you, man.
8:08 PM: Pretty excited to see DeSean Jackson return a punt…
8:09 PM: …and Jackson gets crushed after 5 yards.
8:11 PM: Eagles burn an early timeout. These are the kinks you always hope will be ironed out in the regular season but always seem to linger.
8:13 PM: What is wrong with Reggie Brown? Hopefully, just a slight hamstring tweak.
8:15 PM: It’s his hamstring, and Reggie’s done for the night. Not a good development early on, especially for a player who has a lot to prove this year. Hamstrings are ornery and tend to stick around (Editor’s note: Insert cheesy in-laws joke here).
8:20 PM: McNabb gets happy feet with plenty of time to throw in the pocket and overthrows Kevin Curtis badly, who didn’t have anybody within 10 yards of him. I’m not trying to get down on McNabb, because I’m a supporter, but he makes some hideous throws from time to time. I’m just going to refer to them as McDucks from now on (Editor’s Note: I just had one of those at McDonalds. Deeee-licious).
8:25 PM: The Eagles defense is looking stout right now. Two series, 6 plays, about 15 yards gained for the Panthers.
8:26 PM: Jackson on another punt. He makes one guy look silly, then gets hit pretty hard again. Seems to me like he’s a little tentative when he senses contact, which is something he’ll need to get over very quickly if he’s going to be effective.
8:30 PM: I was just about to comment that the Eagles offense was driving in a very methodical fashion this evening, and then they attempt a stop-and-go to DeSean Jackson. He had a step and was overthrown by McNabb. QUACK!
8:32 PM: Sonuvabitch. Weather delay due to lightning. Weeeeeeaaaaaaaaak.
8:33 PM: Over to the Olympics, where we have USA vs. Bulgaria in Men’s Volleyball.
8:43 PM: Hooray, USA wins! Ah, who am I kidding? I’m not pumped up at all. Real Volleyball is not that exciting. I need sand, bathing suits and outdated alternative songs during every break in the action. (Editor’s note: “Sixteen candles down the drain / WhoaOhhhhhh”)
8:47 PM: Bob Costas is using a gigantic microphone. It’s huge. Reminds me of the cell phones from Saved by the Bell. (Editor’s note: Insert “Do-you-think-he’s-compensating-for-something?” joke here).
8:54 PM: Good grief, Michael Phelps is getting water in his goggles! OHMIGOD! I don’t know how he’ll handle it! Wait, wait, hold on, I’m getting something here, what’s that, what’s that you’re saying, you say he’s won Gold in every race he’s been in so far? Oh, yeah, that’s true, isn’t it? Huh. Okay, I feel better now.
9:01 PM: Sweet, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. Against Belgium, not be the first country that would come to mind when thinking about Beach Volleyball (Editor’s note: I’m still waiting for Greenland to show up).
9:03 PM: And, we’re talking about kinesiology tape, mostly because Walsh has it wrapped around her left shoulder, and apparently the other players are using it now. Interesting stuff, I know. Anytime tape comes up in a conversation, I go cross-eyed. Instantly.
9:23 PM: May and Walsh just completed a remarkable first set salvage by surviving a 20-17 deficit and multiple set points. They are out of this world.
9:29 PM: After a lengthy delay and several conversations about how Chris Myers (clear trash bag poncho) and Pam Oliver (hiding under tarp / using umbrella) are staying dry, we’re back to the football game. 3rd and 8 for the Eagles. And…a first down strike from McNabb to Curtis.
9:31 PM: Okay, we’ve got a wet cheerleader shot. This is an excellent development. (Editor’s Note: Hell, it’s just a preseason game – give the ladies some camera time, Fox).
9:36 PM: So, I just witnessed one of the stranger plays I’ve seen in awhile. The Eagles, in a preseason game, attempted a fake field goal. Akers ran off to his left to simulate receiving a pitch, and Rocca attempted a shovel pass, which was intercepted by Richard Marshall and returned for a touchdown. An odd set of circumstances for sure.
9:54 PM: The Panthers finally get a first down, right in the middle of the obligatory Lito Shepherd contract banter. Deangelo Williams rips off big run, the first big play for Carolina. The Panthers are driving, down to the 10.
9:58 PM: Touchdown, Panthers. Delhomme throws a pretty pass to Muhsin Muhammad who gets absolutely jacked by Brian Dawkins. Wait, wait, we have a challenge; looks like Dawkins knocked the ball out. I heart Brian Dawkins…there, I said it, and I meant it (Editor’s note: Yeah, I heart Dawkins too).
10:01 PM: No Touchdown. Brian Dawkins, you are the man! (Editor’s note: C’mon now, no Harry Kalas rip-offs during a football game). Field goal attempt successful by the Panthers, 10-0 for the bad guys.
10:05 PM: Has anybody seen L.J. Smith lately? Oh, he started? Hmmm. I’d like to see the Eagles try to get him involved on this drive – which has started with a facemask and an offsides penalty. Lock it up, Eagles (Editor’s note: You lock it up).
10:12 PM: The Eagles defense has really been swarming. They look athletic and hungry and have been tackling well. Granted, the Panthers aren’t to be confused with the Patriots, but the Eagles, with the exception of a few plays, have been dominant.
10:14 PM: Nice return by DeSean, who showed great speed around the corner and got some solid blocks. He did get blindsided by another jarring hit, however, and fumbled. Eagles recovered. I have a feeling DeSean is going to be exciting for both the right and wrong reasons on punt returns this year. You’ll be thinking, “Oh, he might take it to the house,” or “Oh no, is he going to get jacked up and fumble?”
10:18 PM: Akers misses a 45 yarder. A tough kick given the conditions, though a make there would have gone a long way to soothing the ever-increasing uneasiness I have when Akers is kicking. Can he return to form this year? A huge question for the Eagles.
10:22 PM: Lito gets a pick on an errant throw by Delhomme. Wait, I think that was some sort of creature with half of Lito’s body and half of Sheldon Brown’s. Hold on, are we checking on this? Can we get that? Oh, okay, nope, sorry, that was inaccurate information. Can we check on whether or not that will improve his YPA? (Editor’s note: Who is he talking to?)
10:28 PM: Halftime. First half grades:
Defense – A (a big play or two, but only allowed a field goal. Swarmed well, controlled the line of scrimmage with their front four and filling linebackers, were active and fired up. Yes, it was the Panthers, but I feel much more confident in this unit having watched them in action then I did before tonight)
Offense – C+ (looked methodical and precise early, moved ball well, McNabb did miss a few big play passes, rain seemed to really affect them, dropped 5 balls late, didn’t really establish the run, tough to read because obviously the play-calling is limited. They seem to have personnel that, if properly utilized, could form a solid offense. Receivers ran good routes, got open, too many drops)
Special Teams – C (not really angry at the strange fake field goal play, seemed odd to try it at the time, but I guess better now than in the regular season. DeSean Jackson showed promise though he was stuffed a few times and did fumble, Lorenzo Booker and the kick return team were anything but impressive, Akers missed the field goal, really tough conditions but would have gone a long way to easing concerns that he’s lost his mojo).
Alright, this ran a bit long, I’m going to call it quits on liveblogging. I’m always more interested in the starters during the preseason; besides, I’d like to flip to The Olympics and the Phillies game. Be sure to wake with The Pundit tomorrow morning.